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The New Value Proposition for VARs
By Paul Constantine
When the position of president of North American POS and Barcoding at ScanSource was left vacant with the departure of Jeff Yelton in late 2011, the company smartly turned to one of its own to run the company’s massive POS division. The lucky man chosen was Paul Constantine, a 12-year veteran at the distribution firm with 18 years of experience in the industry. In other words, he’s the perfect guy to fill those huge shoes. VSR caught up with Paul after his first few weeks on the job. Here’s what he had to say.
vsr: How does a security guy make the leap to POS?
The two [markets] aren’t that different. The security business has been transitioning very rapidly to IP/network-based solutions, and the definition of a typical security reseller is changing a lot. The traditional security dealer used to look almost like an electrician, but now he’s very similar to a technology reseller. In fact, it’s the influx of the technology resellers into the security industry, as a result of technology moving to IP, that’s really changing the face of the security market.
vsr: What’s priority number one for your reseller partners?
They need help figuring out how to maintain their profitability in a marketplace where the margins are constantly under pressure—where innovation is constantly required to keep existing customers, let alone find new ones. This isn’t something new, but it seems that in the past few years pressure for profitability has been magnified, and as a result we have more customers coming to us asking for help to scale their businesses and grow more profitably by using distribution’s value-added services. Our partners lean on us for configuration and integration help, as well as a means to outsource some of the low value-add work to free up their technicians’ time in the field. They also rely on ScanSource for inventory and logistics, and they understand that we can help with alternative financing.
vsr: How are you helping your resellers determine what new products are right for their portfolio?
We always have to look at new ways to add value. Look at the whole miracle of mobility—we’ve been selling mobility solutions for 15 years, but we never called it mobility. We now have a proliferation of consumer devices into the enterprise—people are experiencing mobility in their personal lives and they want it at work. Not only do they want it at work from a general IT perspective, but they want the concept of mobility to apply to the specific tasks they perform in their role. That is driving a lot of innovation, and our role is to help our customers wade through the confusing landscape and help them identify the products and solutions that are right for them.
vsr: How important is the consumer in the IT selection process?
The influence is there, but at the end of the day the end user is going to make a decision based on what’s best for his business. When a consumer is use to a certain experience, that can affect the decision the end user makes when implementing a new technology. For example, if Android-based operating systems are becoming prevalent in the consumer space, then it only stands to reason that business applications developed on the Android platform will become more appealing to end users.
vsr: How do you see the role of the solution provider changing in the next few years?
It’s going to be more about sales, demand generation, and solution delivery, and then it’s going to be about logistics, fulfillment, and supplying hardware. That has been clear for a while. It’s not really a value add any more just to be able to acquire some hardware on behalf of an end user. The solution becomes the driver of the sale, and manufacturers are more attune to the role the reseller plays in demand creation, and have created programs that reward the demand creation side of the reseller’s value proposition.
Family and Colleagues
Deer hunting, college and pro football,
There isn’t any tech I can’t live without.
Words of Wisdom:
“A good plan, executed today, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” —George Patton
Key to Success:
“The key to success is to do ordinary things extraordinarily well.”
Whenever I see my two girls achieve something they’ve worked hard for.
“Death in the Long Grass” by Peter
Favorite vacation spot:
Anywhere my family wants to go!
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